The Unavoidable, Inevitable

      A man had a dream that he was chasing the sun. The reason for his quest was that he believed he couldn’t exist without the sun’ warmth and light. But, no matter how hard or fast he ran, the sun was too far ahead and eventually set in the west. When the man turned around all he could see was darkness. He stood there, gripped by fear. Just then, a traveler walked past the terrified man. This traveler was heading east, into the darkness. “Where are you going asked the terrified man?” The traveler said, “I’m going into the darkness.” “Why do that? asked the frightened man.” You don’t know what’s in there!”

      It’s only natural to want to avoid the darkness of human pain and suffering. We will do anything to put distance between ourselves and the scary, harmful unknown. We’ve all heard stories. We’ve seen those who entered the darkness, knowingly. We’ve watched how that journey impacted them. It’s clear that everyone has a choice when it comes to going into the darkness. We can run as fast as we can to keep some distance between ourselves and what I like to call the “unavoidable, inevitable”. Or like the traveler we can walk into the darkness willingly. I’m convinced that when Jesus was praying those agonizing prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was staring into the darkness. It’s clear that the Savior didn’t like what he saw, so He asked to be excused from the journey. In Matt.26:39, Jesus prayed; “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. (We tend to slide to quickly into the next part of this verse.) Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.”  (So, lets hit the pause button.) Do you think that Jesus had any reservations about going into the darkness? I believe His humanity certainly did. Who wants to suffer the pain of hurting and loss? No one. But running from the darkness only postpones, you guessed it, the “unavoidable, inevitable”. Sooner or later, we have to turn and face what we fear. More than face it, we have to move through it. I wonder if Jesus realized that the only way He could become the “Light of the world”, was by passing through the darkness. I think He did, and that’s why He went. So, what darkness are you staring at, as you read this? Maybe you’ve been running from it so long, you have to turn around and remember what it is. Believe me, it’s still there. Remember what I called it? The “unavoidable, inevitable”. You see the traveler in our story was on the right path. That’s why he answered the terrified man this way. “That’s right said the traveler, I don’t know what’s in there. But I know that God will meet me in the darkness. Besides, the only way to find the light again is to go through the darkness.”

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, ...”               Psalm 107:13-15 (NIV)